McKee Administration Recognizes Clean Energy Achievements Across Public Sector at 6th Annual Lead by Example Awards – Governor McKee signs executive order updating state agency clean energy goals

Published on Tuesday, May 09, 2023

PROVIDENCE, RI – Governor Dan McKee, House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi, Senate Environment & Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Alana M. DiMario, and and Acting State Energy Commissioner Chris Kearns on Tuesday recognized 19 state and quasi-government agencies, municipalities, and public schools for their renewable energy and energy efficiency achievements at its sixth Annual Lead by Example Clean Energy Awards ceremony.

Governor McKee also signed a new Lead by Example Executive Order that updates the state’s clean energy, energy efficiency and emission reduction goals for all state agencies. Within this Executive Order all state agencies must collaborate with the Office of Energy Resources to implement and promote emission reduction projects, in keeping with the purpose to Lead by Example in clean energy and sustainability. This upgraded Executive Order sets out new goals in alignment with the 2021 Act on Climate, which sets mandatory, enforceable climate greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals leading the state to achieve net-zero emissions economy-wide by 2050.

“Congratulations to all our nominees and winners for their impressive efforts in for contributing to our leadership in the clean energy sector,” said Governor McKee. “I am proud of the outstanding work from the Lead by Example team at the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources that has led them to surpass previously set targets. Today, I have put in place a new Lead by Example Executive Order that will continue to support the efforts of public sector entities to reduce their operating and maintenance costs, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and support the local clean energy economy.”

“These towns, school districts, and agencies are demonstrating that the ambitious goals of the Act on Climate are within reach,” said Lt. Governor Sabina Matos. “As a former City Council President, I know how much hard work goes into effecting change like this at the local level. We are grateful to every nominee for their efforts to protect our state from climate change.”

“Congratulations to all of this year’s nominees, and thank you for your efforts to reduce our state’s energy consumption,” said House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-Dist. 23, Warwick). “I’m especially proud to see my hometown of Warwick nominated for an award, as well as the talented carpentry and electrical students at the Warwick Career Tech Center. With 39 miles of coastline, Warwick is already seeing the impact of climate change and rising tides. As we work to implement the initiatives set forth in the Act on Climate, which I was very proud to support, we must all do our part to reduce our reliance on carbon fuels.”

“Climate change, air pollution and energy security are issues that impact all of us,” said Senator Alana DiMario (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown, New Shoreham), who serves as Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture. “This kind of leadership from folks on the ground shows that progress is possible and provides a model for the rest of the state to follow. I’m so grateful for the leadership of the awardees and especially proud of the town of North Kingstown, which is in my district and has been working hard to promote clean energy.”

“Thank you to this year’s Lead by Example nominees and award winners for advancing Rhode Island’s energy efficiency, renewable energy and climate change goals,” said Chris Kearns, Acting State Energy Commissioner. “I wish to offer my appreciation to my Lead by Example team for their continued support in providing both financial and technical assistance to governmental agencies, school districts, and municipalities with their transition to energy efficiency and renewable energy investments.”

The Lead by Example Program works with public sector entities to lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduce energy costs across Rhode Island’s public sector. This important work done by State and municipal employees often goes unheralded but is a critical tool in addressing public sector energy burdens across government.

Lead by Example Energy Award-Winners:

Category: Public School – Jamestown School Department

The Jamestown School Department implemented multiple clean energy projects throughout the year. The first project was installing two solar arrays, and a carport solar canopy at the Melrose Elementary School and a solar roof array at the Lawn Middle School. Together these solar projects will offset 84 percent electricity for the school district annually, making the Jamestown School Department the first district in the state to achieve this renewable energy benchmark. The total cost of this project was $1.03 million using $799,000 funds from the School Bonds and the remainder covered from the Rhode Island Renewable Energy Fund. Additionally, both schools have updated their ventilation systems to provide healthier indoor air quality and improve the comfort and health of students and faculty.

Category: Municipality – North Kingstown

The Town of North Kingstown has implemented several significant energy efficiency and clean energy transportation projects. One of the major initiatives involved converting all 2,500 streetlights to LED. The town also made upgrades to the Historic Town Hall, first built in 1884, which includes a new HVAC system, temperature controls, and low-emissivity replacement windows, as well as HVAC upgrades at several other public safety buildings. Additionally, the town was able to install EV charging stations at the highly utilized municipal golf course. These projects will result in significant cost and energy savings as well as improve safety and comfort.

Category: State Agency – Rhode Island State Police Department

The Rhode Island State Police in collaboration with The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources and the Rhode Island Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance, completed a comprehensive lighting and controls retrofit at the Rhode Island State Police Public Safety Complex. After completing these energy efficiency upgrades, the State Police facilities are now 100 percent LED. These energy reductions will save the State over $45,000 per year in energy costs. The agency also upgraded its HVAC system with a heat pump and installed insulation at the training academy barracks, drastically improving the comfort, efficiency, and operations of this critical facility. This project's energy savings are estimated to result in nearly 200,000 pounds of avoided CO2 per year, taking another substantial step towards helping the State achieve the goals outlined in the 2021 Act on Climate.

Category: Public Sector Entity Pascoag Utility District

The Pascoag Utility District installed a 3MW/9MWh battery storage system to help avoid over $6 million in large transmission upgrade costs. The project utilized Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank for below-market financing of $1.4 million, a grant from the Office of Energy Resources of $250,000, and a shared savings partnership with storage company Agilitas Energy to support this project. This upgrade will improve the reliability of their great at peak load, while also contributing to a more sustainable energy future.

The following nominees received honors:

Public Schools: Pawtucket School Department, Providence Public Schools, Woonsocket Education Department

Municipalities: Town of Warren, City of East Providence, Town of Jamestown, City of Warwick, City of Woonsocket

State Agencies: Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Rhode Island Department of Transportation, Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities & Hospitals, Rhode Island Army National Guard, Division of Capital Asset Management & Maintenance, University of Rhode Island

Quasi-Public Agencies: Rhode Island Public Transit Authority

Special honors were presented to Warwick Career Tech Center carpentry and electrical students and the North Kingstown Chamber of Commerce WindWinRI.

To read more of how Rhode Island is Leading by Example please visit: